Collegiate View: Dear Leader

Allison Photo 2Allison Harris
Gamma Nu (University of Virginia)
President 2013-2014

Growing up, I always found a great group of friends through sports. Playing soccer and basketball in high school allowed me to find my place and develop close friendships through countless hours with teammates. I stopped playing sports when I came to college. Upon entering sorority recruitment, I hoped to find a new kind of team, but I didn’t realize I would eventually gain much more. I was given the opportunity to lead my chapter as President when I was elected halfway through my third year.

The leadership experience I have obtained through my positions in ZTA has been invaluable. I have learned about myself and developed into a more effective leader in the process. As a new officer, you may be feeling excited and overwhelmed about the road ahead. Here are a few lessons I learned during my term as President that may help you jumpstart the new year:

  1. The key to being a successful leader is respect. First, you must respect yourself. Take pride in the way you behave and be conscious of the way you present yourself to others. In doing so, you will not only be respectable, but you will also be a role model. Second, always respect others. From National Council, advisors and Traveling Leadership Consultants to your Executive Committee, Program Council and general members, treat others the way you want to be treated. This will allow you to build mutual respect and develop meaningful relationships. People will be more invested in working toward a common goal and more likely to lend a helping hand.
  2. Keep an open mind. Given your leadership role, it is easy to assume you know what is best for your chapter, but the truth is you might not always be right. With ever changing situations and varying circumstances, identifying the best solution is not always a simple task. Work with other officers, advisors and members to brainstorm creative and effective solutions.
  3. Delegate tasks and trust other leaders. Personally, I tend to be somewhat of a control freak and a perfectionist at times. During my time as President, I was pretty ambitious. I had a lot of ideas for what I wanted to see our chapter accomplish. I soon realized I would fail if I attempted to do everything on my own. From sisterhood and philanthropy events to chapter meetings, one person can only accomplish so much. I had to lean on my Executive Committee, Program Council and chapter advisors. At times you may be overwhelmed and stressed, but you are not alone. Many people want to see your chapter succeed. As you delegate responsibilities, members will feel needed and become invested in the organization.
  4. Be a sister to all. I remember once joining a new soccer team and not feeling welcome. I was uncomfortable around my new teammates, which made me less excited to attend practices, games and team events. Making a friend on the team transformed my experience. Get to know as many people as possible, and let them know they have a friend. You will gain a better understanding of your chapter, which is imperative as an officer and will help you select the next best leaders for each position, plan events, and most importantly, give your members what they are looking for in a sorority.
  5. Always, always say thank you. Whether you’re working with chapter members, other officers, advisors or National Officers, remember to thank everyone for their assistance. Smooth operations require cooperation from many different individuals. It is important to recognize all of the help you receive and to be appreciative. Giving thanks will show others you are grateful for their help, and in return, they will be more likely to help again in the future.

I hope these tips help you find success in your leadership position. As a leader, you have the opportunity to develop your own Zeta team. Reach out to your members, trust your fellow leaders, listen with open ears and respect all. Remember to be thankful, and you will build an undefeatable team.

Quiz: What type of Big Sister are you?

Hazing has no place in ZTA, especially between a Big and Little Sister. ZTA sisterhood is many things, but hazing is NOT one of them.

Take this Buzzfeed-style quiz to find out which on-screen big sister portrays your relationship with your Little. This quiz is totally (not) science-based.

BigSisQuizJoin the National Hazing Prevention Week conversation on social media by tagging #NHPW14 and #ZTASisterhoodIs.